There was zero evidence of a COVID pause hangover for Gonzaga, as they finally opened conference play with a dominant 36-point win over Pepperdine in the Kennel. It was also the Zags’ 42nd straight win over the Waves. Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren had 18 apiece for the Bulldogs, but it was Anton Watson who led the team with 19 points off the bench.
The 117 points scored mark the highest total in WCC play for the Zags since 1994, and the most points they have scored against any opponent since dropping 120 on Idaho State in Nov. 2018.
It isn’t fair to say this one was over when it started, but a 10-0 run in the first two minutes by the Zags set the tone for the game. Timme and Julian Strawther led the offense early on, each scoring seven and hitting a three by the first TV timeout. While the offense was humming from the opening tip, the defense was equally on point. Gonzaga held the Waves without a field goal attempt on four straight possessions early in the half, punctuated by a block and a steal from Holmgren. Watson came on later in the half, shooting 4-8 from the field and 4-4 from the line, converting on a couple and-one opportunities.
The Zags opened the second half on a 9-1 run, with Andrew Nembhard dishing a pair of pretty dimes (as part of his team high eight). The outcome was pretty much certain throughout the second half, which allowed Mark Few to empty the bench. Ben Gregg got court time in both halves, finishing with six points and four boards. Martynas Arlauskas and Matthew Lang also got into the scoring column for the Bulldogs.
This game will hopefully be a good springboard for the Zags as they enter conference play. They will look to ride that momentum when BYU comes to the Kennel on Thursday.